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Dave H

Return of fans during Covid-19 pandemic

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one thing certain is the Covid-19 virus is not going to disappear for the 2020-21 season.   

Are the club planning, in hope, for a given month, for fans to return to match days?  

What's everyone's opinion on return of some fans to stadiums?   Optimistic and pessimistic thoughts welcome.   I'm aware the Government will tell us, but interested in views.  

If we had capped capacity of 2000 home fans only, ie 1/5th of stadium, sure we could distance fairly well inside the 4 stands, being outside helps with air flow, could stipulate face masks to be worn on entry till you find an available seat, then can remove if you wish.

I'm of the thought we could attend now, but fear it'll be not till start of November...

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I think that (barring a second wave and a return to lockdown), they'll probably start letting some fans in around September. Given that matches are played outdoors and other things are starting to re-open, I can't really see why football matches shouldn't start to open up again.

I think Saints should be fairly well positioned to make it work: our stadium is relatively big, our attendances are relatively small, and McDiarmid is well located out of the city centre, in lots of space and with its own big on-site car park. I do think though, that in order to maintain social distancing, it will probably be season ticket holders only for the foreseeable future. I also think they'll probably keep the food outlets closed, and probably also the hospitality suites, and the club shop, and they'll have to come up with a process for the flow out of the stands at full-time. Income-wise it's going to have a big impact on the club and that worries me about the long-term (we have a decent squad for now, but when their contracts run out how will we replace them?).

I think it's a real shame that, as things stand, those of us who aren't season ticket holders are probably going to be shut out of having any way to watch the matches. I'd very happily pay to stream the games online, but it's looking like it won't be possible. I know it's not Saints' fault and the club's hands are tied, but it seems crazy to me that an income source for clubs which would also benefit fans is being blocked. 

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16 minutes ago, blueheaven said:

I think that (barring a second wave and a return to lockdown), they'll probably start letting some fans in around September. Given that matches are played outdoors and other things are starting to re-open, I can't really see why football matches shouldn't start to open up again.

I think Saints should be fairly well positioned to make it work: our stadium is relatively big, our attendances are relatively small, and McDiarmid is well located out of the city centre, in lots of space and with its own big on-site car park. I do think though, that in order to maintain social distancing, it will probably be season ticket holders only for the foreseeable future. I also think they'll probably keep the food outlets closed, and probably also the hospitality suites, and the club shop, and they'll have to come up with a process for the flow out of the stands at full-time. Income-wise it's going to have a big impact on the club and that worries me about the long-term (we have a decent squad for now, but when their contracts run out how will we replace them?).

I think it's a real shame that, as things stand, those of us who aren't season ticket holders are probably going to be shut out of having any way to watch the matches. I'd very happily pay to stream the games online, but it's looking like it won't be possible. I know it's not Saints' fault and the club's hands are tied, but it seems crazy to me that an income source for clubs which would also benefit fans is being blocked. 

You could go down the route of buying a season ticket, even if won’t be financially logical for you (if you can afford it). 
 

I think I made it to 5 games last season with mine, but I like my seat and even when I’m not attending, I know I’ve paid my entry and I’m helping the club. 
 

If ever there’s a season to buy one out of blind loyalty, this is it. 

 

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Just now, Pat McGroin said:

You could go down the route of buying a season ticket, even if won’t be financially logical for you (if you can afford it). 
 

I think I made it to 5 games last season with mine, but I like my seat and even when I’m not attending, I know I’ve paid my entry and I’m helping the club. 
 

If ever there’s a season to buy one out of blind loyalty, this is it. 

 

Yeah, I had initially considered buying a season ticket when it looked like much of the season might be played behind closed doors. But by the time the first two home games (both being shown on Sky) are out of the way, it could well be the case that season ticket holders are being let into games again, in which case the digital season ticket won't provide any matches at all. As much as I'm on board with helping the club, I can't afford to buy a season ticket to see potentially zero games (I live in England, so travelling up to matches isn't going to be practical for a long time).

I know that Sky have are being thanked for allowing the virtual season ticket thing to happen, but in my view Sky's actions are actually going to be very damaging as they're actively stopping a lot of fans from seeing games (and stopping clubs from getting some money from those fans).

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I think there will be the possibility of restricted fan numbers until there is a vaccine available. Possibly middle of next year. 

If there is a second wave i doubt if the season will be completed. 

Think toilets and eateries would be the big issue. 

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1 hour ago, mainstand said:

I think there will be the possibility of restricted fan numbers until there is a vaccine available. Possibly middle of next year. 

If there is a second wave i doubt if the season will be completed. 

Think toilets and eateries would be the big issue. 

Not convinced we’ll ever see a vaccine personally 

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2 hours ago, blueheaven said:

Yeah, I had initially considered buying a season ticket when it looked like much of the season might be played behind closed doors. But by the time the first two home games (both being shown on Sky) are out of the way, it could well be the case that season ticket holders are being let into games again, in which case the digital season ticket won't provide any matches at all. 

My understanding was that the digital season ticket would last until things were fully back to normal, ie when every seat could be filled and every fan who is shielding could attend. If not, I too will be reconsider my decision to purchase a season ticket.

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As soon as fans are allowed back, the SPFL will enforce the "3pm blackout" rule again, which bans clubs from showing games live in the UK at 3 on a Saturday. I dont know whether its in force until full entry is allowed, or whether it ends when limited entry is allowed.

Theres no way around that. Its only been suspended temporarily to allow clubs to sell season tickets etc., all clubs voted to have that rule.

Season ticket holders will be allowed to watch games being broadcast on Sky via Saints TV, while non season ticket holders will have to watch through Sky.

If you want to watch every game through the computer, you'd be aswell just purchasing Saints TV and then figuring out how to use a VPN (I've used ProtonVPN successfully to watch 3pm away games in the UK), as every club this season has a streaming set up at their ground so every game should be available (Old Firm are apparently funny about showing their home games).

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1 hour ago, RandomGuy said:

If you want to watch every game through the computer, you'd be aswell just purchasing Saints TV and then figuring out how to use a VPN (I've used ProtonVPN successfully to watch 3pm away games in the UK), as every club this season has a streaming set up at their ground so every game should be available (Old Firm are apparently funny about showing their home games).

Thats basically what I have been doing this season paying the int subscription and using EPIC browser which provides free geo spoofing. And will hopefully do the same this season.

Just because we may be able to return at some point does not necessarily mean we should in my view and until there is a solution to this virus I will be limiting public outings hence I wont be getting a season ticket.  If all home games for the season had been on Saints TV regardless I would of bought however

I find the 3pm blackout very strange.  The thing is we are forced to do 'workarounds' to view these games which are even though I am subscribed are ultimately costing the clubs money.  I would happily pay say ~ £20 a pop to view a game (home and away) at 3pm on my PC. 

Lets face it if for what ever reason you dont want to attend (extra travel costs, weather, mobility, mates not going, or simply cant be arsed) the draw of being forced to actually attend to watch is not so great to get you along.  I had a ST last year (35th year) but did not attend for most of the reasons above.  If I did not have Saints TV, I would not of been at games and probably would of lost interest entirely, the live games and some banter with those on here doing likewise kept me still interested.  However I do feel like I am cheating the club to a certain extent as they could get more money out of me if they simply allowed PPV for 3pm games.  Simply not allowing it is not going to get me through the doors of McD

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Under normal circumstances I'm in favour of the Saturday 3pm blackout. I think it could have a very damaging impact on the attendances of smaller clubs if Sky etc suddenly started showing Man Utd, Barcelona etc on Saturday afternoons.

The big question for me is does the blackout come back as soon as some fans are allowed back in to matches (which could be in a few months), or does it only come back when things are completely back to the way they were (which could be years, if at all).

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1 hour ago, blueheaven said:

Under normal circumstances I'm in favour of the Saturday 3pm blackout. I think it could have a very damaging impact on the attendances of smaller clubs if Sky etc suddenly started showing Man Utd, Barcelona etc on Saturday afternoons.

The big question for me is does the blackout come back as soon as some fans are allowed back in to matches (which could be in a few months), or does it only come back when things are completely back to the way they were (which could be years, if at all).

Would you watch a game on sky rather than go and watch your own team provided you lived within travelling distance.

Well maybe on a freezing wet winters day. 

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Don’t mind arriving early at stadium which I always do. What concerns me is how long it might take to empty. I just will have to adjust my mindset that we will just have to learn how to be patient. That is not easy when you don’t have any.

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2 hours ago, Cagey said:

Would you watch a game on sky rather than go and watch your own team provided you lived within travelling distance.

Well maybe on a freezing wet winters day. 

I wouldn't, no. When I lived in Perth I always went to the matches, regardless of whether or not there was a match on Sky (to be honest I don't watch much football on TV, and I ditched my Sky Sports subscription a few years back). But I was already a Saints fan. Attracting new fans when there are attractive matches on Sky could be a different matter.

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On 7/14/2020 at 4:40 PM, Cagey said:

Would you watch a game on sky rather than go and watch your own team provided you lived within travelling distance.

Well maybe on a freezing wet winters day. 

No

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I think the home fans could easily socially distance at McD but possibly only season ticket holders otherwise keeping away fans out and controlling numbers could be tricky even with the database. One issue will be the extra staff needed to control queues, Turnstiles etc and just massive lines ti get in. They can shut down the food kiosks but would still need to provide toilets, think thats one of the biggest problems.

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It should not be beyond the wit of man to have crowds of up to 2,500 at McD especially as the first rule would have to be home fans only.  Saints fans are well behaved and in my opinion would be prepared to be patient at critical points such as arrival and departure.  it would help if Saints could arrange to be 2 or 3 goals up with 10 minutes or so to go!

It would mean opening all 4 stands, recruiting volunteer stewards, setting up a data base and selling tickets online.  Fans would have to commit game by game to attending, including season ticket holders, to help the club sell the maximum number of tickets.

The question, however, is would it be worth the expense?  Also, would fans attend given restrictions such as these?  I fear there will be other restrictions as well.

Then there is the bigger picture, the risk of a second wave.  Any significant upturn in infections and restrictions will be reintroduced with football first in line.  I rather think like others above that we will have to wait for a vaccine.

Oh and yes I do know there are at least 2 clubs whose fans are not well behaved.

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2 hours ago, south inch said:

It should not be beyond the wit of man to have crowds of up to 2,500 at McD especially as the first rule would have to be home fans only.  Saints fans are well behaved and in my opinion would be prepared to be patient at critical points such as arrival and departure.  it would help if Saints could arrange to be 2 or 3 goals up with 10 minutes or so to go!

It would mean opening all 4 stands, recruiting volunteer stewards, setting up a data base and selling tickets online.  Fans would have to commit game by game to attending, including season ticket holders, to help the club sell the maximum number of tickets.

The question, however, is would it be worth the expense?  Also, would fans attend given restrictions such as these?  I fear there will be other restrictions as well.

Then there is the bigger picture, the risk of a second wave.  Any significant upturn in infections and restrictions will be reintroduced with football first in line.  I rather think like others above that we will have to wait for a vaccine.

Oh and yes I do know there are at least 2 clubs whose fans are not well behaved.

There are 2 clubs who's season ticket holders would fill their stadium so not practical in all instances to allow ST holders in.

They will then have to rotate who they let in.. Easy for Saints but can't see SPFL allowing fans in til they can accommodate all fans. That wound not be until they get a vaccine.

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8 hours ago, Cagey said:

There are 2 clubs who's season ticket holders would fill their stadium so not practical in all instances to allow ST holders in.

They will then have to rotate who they let in.. Easy for Saints but can't see SPFL allowing fans in til they can accommodate all fans. That wound not be until they get a vaccine.

No, but they can absolutely operate a rotation system and open at 20-25% capacity. 
 

Serves that lot right for being glory hunters 

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13 hours ago, Cagey said:

There are 2 clubs who's season ticket holders would fill their stadium so not practical in all instances to allow ST holders in.

They will then have to rotate who they let in.. Easy for Saints but can't see SPFL allowing fans in til they can accommodate all fans. That wound not be until they get a vaccine.

Surely it would be simple enough to say you can only fill 25% (for example) of your stadium. How clubs then get around that, if it means not all of their season ticket holders can get in, is up to them. It doesn't sound to me like a reason to delay things. Keeping stadiums 100% closed to supporters until a vaccine is found isn't a realistic option.

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2 hours ago, blueheaven said:

Surely it would be simple enough to say you can only fill 25% (for example) of your stadium. How clubs then get around that, if it means not all of their season ticket holders can get in, is up to them. It doesn't sound to me like a reason to delay things. Keeping stadiums 100% closed to supporters until a vaccine is found isn't a realistic option.

No fan of OF but would it be fair or acceptable to them if we could let all our fans in & they only get 25% in.

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3 hours ago, Cagey said:

No fan of OF but would it be fair or acceptable to them if we could let all our fans in & they only get 25% in.

Don’t see why it is unfair if only 25% capacity get in. Tough luck on all the clubs who can’t get all their fans be that ST’s or walk ins. If Saints and Livi are the only clubs who get all their fans in good luck to them. Perfectly acceptable and fair in my view.

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